Living A Life Of Purpose

with Kevin Hekmat

Kevin Hekmat started his career working with IN-Q, Cal Fussman, and Alex Banayan to name a few. He has helped sell out theaters and produce global events. During the pandemic, even though he has a love and deep friendships with his performers, Kevin also looked inward and focused on his passion for wellness, and his ability to help others shift how we respond to stress – and bring more happiness, productivity, and communication to teams around the world. Kevin began studying with the HeartMath Institute where he became certified. He uses over 30 years of research from the Institute to share a new understanding of how we can manage the stress response through simple, evidence-based techniques, and create a happier and healthier work and life.

IN THIS EPISODE … Joe talks to his friend Kevin Hekmat about the benefits of deep breathing, meditation, and the intentions of focus. Kevin shares his unknowing journey into meditation, which started with an incredible story, a 10-day silent meditation experience. From never meditating to jumping into a retreat that is hard for the most seasoned meditation enthusiasts. They start digging into understanding setting boundaries in your life and setting time for your intentions and focus. Most importantly for you, Kevin does some incredible deep breathing exercises that you can use during this episode and moving forward, which will aid in your path to self-discovery.

? Breakdown with Kevin Hekmat:
Chapter 1 (0:00): Introduction
Joe introduces Kevin Hekmat, and sets up the episode.

Chapter 2 (2:00): Deep Breathing Exercise
Kevin starts the conversation with an exercise you can do to help center yourself.

Chapter 3 (8:26): Deep breathing versus meditation
There are some differences between meditation and deep breathing. Also, keep in mind that all people have different styles of practice.

Chapter 4 (15:02): Understanding Heart Math
Heart Math is an institute that studies the science of the heart. What your heart rate tells you about not only your physical but your emotional health as well.

Chapter 5 (29:40): Meditation retreat experience
Kevin started his journey in mediation by attending a 10-day silent retreat, which is truly incredible. He shared lessons he learned and what the overall experience was like.

Chapter 6 (36:39): Transcendental meditation
This technique promotes a state of relaxed awareness, stress relief, and access to higher states of consciousness, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Chapter 7 (44:57): Creating boundaries to be present
We wear so many hats in our lives that it is hard to make sure we are setting boundaries in our lives to ensure we are getting time to be present with ourselves.

Chapter 8 (56:57): Living with purpose
What are you doing today to ensure your life is being lived for yourself. This is something that we all need to focus on to make sure we don’t look back with regret.

Chapter 9 (1:10:53): Quick Coherence Technique
Coherence allows us to move easily from one idea to the next, from one thought to the next, and from one mind meld to the next.

Chapter 10 (53:50): Wrapping Up
Joe wraps up the episode with Jenn and encourages you to buy her book!

Material Referenced in this interview:
→”I AM” documentary by Tom Shadyac
→The Headspace Guide to Meditation by Andy Puddicombe
→Against All Odds by Chuck Norris

? Connect with Kevin

Kevin Hekmat: (00:00)
And this is what to me, you know, meditation ultimately gets that our math ultimately gets that, uh, all types of mindfulness and everything in that world is that you are your own school. Like, you know, what’s best for you. And you’re actually the only one that’s going to know what’s best for you. And all it takes is that minute, slow down to breathe, to do something that connects you with your, your heart, yourself, that, that inner voice and check in with yourself.

Intro Music: (00:45)

Joe Chura: (00:53)
Hey, Kevin, welcome to the non almost there podcasts. It’s so great to have you here.

Kevin Hekmat: (00:56)
Thank you, Joe. How you doing?

Joe Chura: (00:59)
Doing well, man, one is set the south by it’s. Uh, it’s again. Great to have you. I want to set this up by talking about how I got to know you a little bit so early on in the podcast, you know, this is my first year doing it. And, uh, we had, we’d found you as a, as an agent to a few people that we wanted to get booked on the show. Cal Fussman being one of them, Alex benign Dumpton. And um, I think we, we have, uh, developed a bit of a friendship along the way, and you had done what was a fantastic presentation to my company on how to relieve stress and use techniques and tools to do so. And I really wanted to have you on the show because there is a lot of need today to be able to dive into a toolbox when folks are stressed out.

Joe Chura: (02:01)
And we are at still in a bit of an all time high on stress as our lives were ever change from the COVID pandemic, we are in a completely different working environments, parental environment, and things that have shifted, and they’ll never go back in some respects and in some respects, that’s good in some respects, it’s not great in some respects, it’s just different. And I think it’s important to be able to cope with change because change is constant in life. So I’d love if you could one lead us through a breathing exercise and anyone listening to this podcast, uh, if you’re walking or running, which I highly encourage, I think this is a great time to just sit and be still and just take a few minutes for yourself. So, uh, maybe set it up what we’re going to be doing, why we’re going to be doing it and how it’s going to help.

Kevin Hekmat: (02:55)
And it was great being with the company and, uh, loved hearing, uh, the feedback from them on it all. And obviously it’s been a great, great time working with you on all the talks as well with the other speakers. And so what we’ll do, and we’ll go into a bit more about what is happening during the exercise and why this, even while we’re even doing this later on. But the biggest thing here for me personally, it’s just like how we respond to life. Uh, and I think, you know, like life can just like take, uh, take over, um, that like awareness, uh, the days just pile up and, and we, we sort of lose the presence, uh, so that we can respond to whatever comes at us, uh, in a, in a, in an aware, in an aware way, in a way that we want.

Kevin Hekmat: (03:53)
And so this exercise is called the heart focused breathing, and it’s going to be like deceptively simple. Uh, we did it with the team and that’s like one thing that I, uh, like when I first learned this, this exercise, I, uh, sort of in shock about how, how simple it was, but it’s often that that can be like the most powerful. And so I’ll guide us through it. Uh, wherever you guys are listening to this, uh, if you are walking or driving, that’s fine as well. Uh, the point of the exercise is to, uh, bring you into the moment to self regulate your nervous system, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. So maybe if you want slow down, stop for a second now, but eventually this is something you can be using while you’re in a conversation, right? And so whatever you’re doing and wherever you are, you can just start to focus your attention on the area, around your heart.

Kevin Hekmat: (05:06)
If you’re seated and you’re not driving, you can close your eyes. You can also leave your eyes out. Then if you prefer, just start to imagine your breath flowing in and out of your heart or your chest area. Start breathing a little slower and a little deeper than usual. You can inhale for five seconds and exhale for five seconds. Now we’re going to take three more breaths together, five seconds in and five seconds out, breathing deeply into your heart and the exhale and hell 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and exhale, 2, 3, 4. Uh, let’s do two more breaths. Okay. Inhale and fill up your heart, your chest as if it’s one of your lungs. And this last one on your own, whenever you’re ready, you can open your eyes. How’s that for you, Jeff.

Joe Chura: (07:41)
It was good. It was nice to just take a few seconds, man, for your yourself, not have the notifications of life hitting you and just focus on your breathing.

Kevin Hekmat: (07:55)
Yeah, yeah. There’s, there’s two sides to it that I just personally, uh, uh, I am always surprised by one is the actual, like what’s happening in your body side of it. So the, the science, the research around, like in that 45 second window, uh, like the actual shifts that are happening in your body, uh, you know, without getting to the science of it, like your nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system is being activated, which like releases the fight or flight that, uh, often we’re constantly in and actually starts to put your body into a relaxing state. And your body actually goes into like a recovery mode, like biologically, but then also to your point, like, we’re just like nonstop on the phones and just with that 45 seconds, and that could be 30 seconds. It could be 10 seconds. Like you can do it so much that you just are able to in a moment, take one, inhale and exhale and come back to that moment and that piece. And it’s just always there for us.

Joe Chura: (09:17)
Yeah. I noticed you, you didn’t say anything that I typically hear regarding meditation and that if you have a thought about something, just, just let that thought go and keep focusing on your breath and it’s okay. Normal to have those clean thoughts. Like you didn’t really get into that during this is that intentional?

Kevin Hekmat: (09:37)
Yeah. So, uh, first I would say that my meditation teacher said this and, uh, and I really believe it, like telling the brain to stop thinking, to stop creating thoughts. It’s like telling your heart to stop beating it. It’s not going to work. So your brain is always going to think, you know, I meditate a lot and, uh, there’s so many times that I meditate and I’ll even sometimes sit down with a friend to meditate who doesn’t meditate as often and we’ll finish and I’ll go, man. I was just thinking the whole time. And I go, me too. And that’s okay. All that means is that there was a lot of in your head that needed to get processed. It’s sorta like, uh, like a decluttering of your desk, right? If your desk is like insanely messy and, uh, and, and you’re sitting down to work, if you just try and work with that messy desk, it’s going to be tough. Right. There’s going to be everywhere. And so you, you just have to, sorry, I don’t know if I can, the cussing is okay. Making sure

Joe Chura: (10:54)
This isn’t, uh, this is, yeah, this is isn’t a kids.

Kevin Hekmat: (10:57)
Yeah. If the best is, is messy. So all it is, and maybe that day, you have stuff all over your desk and just cleaning up a little bit. We’ll get you to do a little bit better work, right. And maybe some days you slept really well and yesterday wasn’t as crazy. And so your desk is already clean. And so in those moments, we’re able to sit down and maybe there’s less cluttered to clean up. And you’re actually able to sit and be very present, but whatever happens, it’s always going to be beneficial. So I would sort of not even really think about letting the thoughts go. I mean, if you really get into meditation, yes. There, there are elements of a one a thought comes in not trying to hold on to it, but this isn’t the point of this. Isn’t even that the point of this, this breathing exercise, uh, is just in any moment, like these are meant to be used in the moment in our lives, uh, to, uh, regulate yourself, to bring your back, bring yourself back into the moment to take yourself out of that stress response.

Kevin Hekmat: (12:08)
And it might be helpful if I give some background. I mean, I’ll give like a quick background on heart math, just so everyone has sort of a frame of reference and ask you about that. I think that would be helpful. So hard, Matt for 30 plus years, uh, has been studying the heart and the brain connection and, uh, how our body responds to emotions and the stress response. And so they have really understood what happens to our body under the stress response, when we’re feeling depleting emotions like stress, frustration, anger, and, uh, and the, you know, detrimental effects. It has not only on our body and our health, but also on our performance, uh, on our brain function on our memory, on our focus, on our decision-making. And a lot of the studies they’ve done that. I mean, they’ve worked with, you know, ranging from military, uh, to hospitals, to schools, to organizations, police, and fire departments, uh, really working with people in these high stress environments and helping them and giving them the tools to perform better in those high stress environments.

Kevin Hekmat: (13:23)
So for example, like the green Berets, uh, we’ll train hard math techniques in their first week of training, uh, because they found through the research that it, uh, helps with that decision making in the moment when you can use a breathing technique like this, right. And when you’re under that stress and it’s going to happen no matter what, it’s sorta like the thinking, uh, like the point of this, me being here and even talking, uh, with the team, wasn’t to say, I’m going to get rid of your stress. Like that’s not going to happen unless you just decide to give up everything and move and become a monk. And you’re still going to have stress even in that situation. But the point is, you’re not, uh, that you’re not on high the entire time. Like, there’s this analogy that I, that I just thought of where it’s sorta like you have like, uh, a kettle of water of hot water, not an electric kettle, but let’s say you old-school, you’ve got a kettle on the stove.

Kevin Hekmat: (14:28)
I put a kettle on the stove, put it on high, walked out of the room to go do something and completely forgotten about it. And if you’ve ever done that, what happens? You come back 45 minutes later and you’re like, like. And the water’s gone completely evaporated, right? Water’s gonna hide the entire time. So if you were to come in that room every minutes and just right before it starts boiling, turn off the heat for five minutes and then turn it back on high, that water is going to take much hours to evaporate. But what we do is we just put ourselves on high and then we just leave ourselves on high for an hour. And we, we burn out and that’s really what heart math has been studying. Like, how do you use, they’ve developed these tools and techniques they’ve been done. They’ve done research over the past 30 years, peer reviewed all around how we can implement these tools into our own lives to get better at responding to life. And that breathing technique is like the foundational tool that heart focused breathing is like a core foundational tool to it. And there’s more to it as well. And we can even maybe close with another exercise that goes a bit deeper into a technique that, that everyone can use in their own lives. It’s called a quick coherence. So w we can do that maybe towards the end of the session.

Joe Chura: (15:53)
Yeah. Yeah. That’d be great. So why, uh, maybe explain also is heart math, like, um, is it a, a curriculum? Is it an association? Like what is hard method? Why did you choose that direction? What led you there versus the myriad of other options that

Kevin Hekmat: (16:15)
Heart math is a research Institute. So they, and the research Institute, they sh they study this. I mean, they have a team and they work with a lot of other research institutes to study everything that I pretty much just said and a lot more, uh, it goes very deep. Uh, and then they have a for-profit side, which is the side that actually goes out and works with the military police and fire department. So they’re on the ground, coaches that go and work with people teaching these techniques. So for me, I first heard apart math about seven years ago, uh, through a documentary called I am, which is a beautiful documentary, uh, by Tom Shadyac. And he, I mean, I was fascinated by them back then, uh, just about the work they’re doing around the heart and, uh, and all of this, and I’m stressed and about a year and a half ago during COVID, uh, I came back to it. And obviously, as you mentioned earlier, uh, you know, professionally, I’d been managing talent and booking speakers, the speaking agent, the talent manager for, for years, and I’d always meditated, uh, maybe for the past 9, 8, 8 years. Uh, when I first got into it, uh, on, uh,

Joe Chura: (17:40)
I mean

Kevin Hekmat: (17:40)
In the first place I was on a roll. So I was backpacking, I just finished school. And I went solo backpacking for like three months in Southeast Asia. And I never meditated before didn’t really know much about it. I remember at one point during the trip, I was in this hostel and this guy in the room was meditating. It was like one of those shared rooms. And he was like sitting on his bed, uh, meditating. And I remember looking at him going, like, what is he doing? Like what, what, what is like, what a weirdo, uh, and then towards the

Kevin Hekmat: (18:20)
Classic, like, he was like, this eyes closed for like 20 minutes, maybe even longer. And how was like, what a weird, like what an interesting, and he wasn’t talking. I was just like very weirded out by it. And that moment is very important for me. And I it’s so clear in my memory because the trip continues that was of the earlier middle of that three, four month trips backpacking. And then at the end of the trip, I ended up, uh, someone recommended this retreat. And I was more curious about that meditation after that. And so I went to this place and, uh, it was, uh, the pasta, uh, and it was like the person that told me about it was like, it’s a meditation retreat. And it’s really interesting. And so I go to this place and I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. And if anyone listening knows would have a positive, so it was a 10 day silent meditation retreat.

Joe Chura: (19:16)
So went from nothing to that. Yeah.

Kevin Hekmat: (19:18)
So pretty much like that 20 minutes that I saw him at a steady for, it was that for nine hours a day, 10 days in a row without speaking.

Joe Chura: (19:28)
And was that the first hour,

Kevin Hekmat: (19:29)
The first time I’d ever meditated, it was the first day of that. So that was my introduction. I mean, that was like four hours of, of, of monks that were sort of lecturing teaching meditation. And then nine hours a day, you would wake up at four in the morning. Uh, you would only have breakfast and lunch, which was very bland, uh, and, uh, no dinner. And you would, yeah. Nine hours of meditation a day. Uh,

Joe Chura: (20:00)
And what, what kept you there though? Like, so, so you’re you go there, it’s completely unexpected. How do you, how do you manage to stay in that environment? Like, I, I read, uh, Andy’s book from a Headspace and he ends up like hopping over a fence and like teaching the whole, the whole monk, the whole mockery. And he was training for that. And you, it’s your first time there and you ended up sticking for the whole 10 days. Like what made you stay there?

Kevin Hekmat: (20:29)
There was a curiosity. There was a, uh, something drew me towards it. I was, I was genuinely fascinated by it by the life of, of a monk. Uh, and I think I’d always sort of underneath been fascinated by that. And once I was there, I just figured let’s let me do it. Let me just go through the whole thing. And I guarantee you, there were a lot of really intense moments. I’m not thinking it was all great. You know, I realize day six or seven, I really started, uh, just breaking down in very bizarre ways. Uh, and then I remember I just denied, it was just talking to myself. I started making games up with myself, like where I was like, I was making like a show in my head and the internal dialogue that would go on to, I mean, the, the meditation is one side of it, which was really intense.

Kevin Hekmat: (21:30)
And I couldn’t meditate for two hours. I w I would, they would sit there and say they would bring a balance, say two hours, you know, be two hour meditation. I would maybe meditate for 20, 30 minutes. And then I would just sort of sit there. And the real intensity was, was in the thoughts, like, to your point of how do you like the thoughts that come in, uh, when you’re silent for 10 days and you can’t talk to anyone, you don’t have any distractions when you have no real stimulation. When you have, uh, no phone, no music, nothing a thought that comes into your mind stays in your mind until you’re at peace with it. How old were you? I was 21.

Joe Chura: (22:21)
Yeah. So 21 year old in Thailand on vacation. And you’re like, yeah, this is like, who does that? Like, I could see trying to for a day and be like, I signed up for the right, the wrong meditation retreat here. That’s, that’s incredible. So like, uh, not speaking, did you, like, did anyone accidentally speak to one another? Is it really that strict where it’s like, you don’t hear a word from anyone or,

Kevin Hekmat: (22:48)
Uh, words from the facilitator. So those monks that, that are teaching and that lived there, so they’re speaking to you. Um, and then the only thing we would say was like, there was like two sentences before the meal that we would sorta like whisper to ourselves, uh, before every meal outside of that. Uh, yeah. You’re, you’re not speaking at all. And that, that was really, I mean, going back like it, like a thought would come up about a relationship. And I realized how often and thinking about it now, before that trip, how often when I would get upset about something, like I would bottle a lot of things up often. I still, I still I’ve gotten much, much better at it, uh, about actually expressing the things that I need to express. But back then, like, I remember as a kid in college, not expressing the things that frustrated me or when someone did something and I would get away from it by listening to music or going to a conversation.

Kevin Hekmat: (24:00)
And how often does that happen? Where you actually, you’re thinking about something you need to say or express, and then you just forget about it because you watch TV or you go on Instagram or you start having a conversation and you, oh, you’re really just like pushing all of that down. And what I learned in that 10 days, I know it’s really teaching you, just going to sit there and you go, how the am I going to get this out of my head? Because this thought, this memory, this idea isn’t going to leave until I am able to work through it in some way. And that was, to me, the most valuable thing is the ability to sit with your thoughts and actually process them in a way that, uh, that allows them to just move on.

Kevin Hekmat: (24:48)
Were you allowed to journal? So they were, I think, depending on the place you go, they’re more or less, uh, strict on that. Technically you’re not, you’re not supposed to, they allowed you to, if you want it to, I had to like, oh, I didn’t have to, but I thought that I had to, in that moment, I was, uh, I, couldn’t not really, it would have made me go, just go too crazy. So I was taking notes and journaling when thoughts would come and I’ll just write it down so I could let it go like that. So I wasn’t holding onto it, but, uh, like technically, I mean, you’re in end of a pasta, uh, you’re not supposed to be writing at all. So it’s just like, not attachment, right. And letting go of everything that comes in

Joe Chura: (25:38)
At the end of the 10 days, you just run out of there with your hands off. Like I made it, or what is that?

Kevin Hekmat: (25:44)
Yeah, it was very, very freeing. I would say another really fascinating part of the experience was, uh, it was, we were in Thailand. Most people were international, so there’s about a hundred people there. There was a big round and everyone’s, everyone’s international. And so you don’t know where anyone’s from. You don’t know what anyone’s like, but you’re sitting down with them silently across the, the table, eating breakfast and lunch every day. You’re meditating with them every day. You’re passing by and making eye contact every day. Right. So you, you, you develop relationships without saying a word and then you just feel them, right. And you make judgments just based on how someone is walking or moving. And so I’ll never forget. There was just one guy we would eat and the food was buffet. You would, you’d get your formal line, get your food, sit down and you couldn’t eat until wait, oh, wait, what kind of, what kind of food was it? This like, sort of like, uh, like, uh, like a, like a rice soup kind of situation, like, uh, like, uh, uh, Manoj. Exactly. You know, salts and, uh, and, and lunch was always like a Curry with rice and the Curry was pretty blend, but it was, yeah, it was like no salt as well. Uh, and then some days for breakfast, uh, they brought bananas and those were good days.

Kevin Hekmat: (27:19)
There’s no dinner. You didn’t need dinner. Uh, it was either, it was like, you could have like a tea and they had this, um, sort of like chocolate, the milk, it wasn’t milk. I forgot what they called it, but it was that you could have as well if you want it, but there was no dinner. So you would eat at 8:00 AM and 1230 and then not until 8:00 AM the next day. Yeah. So you were, you were also dealing with like the food and also, I, I you’re sleeping on a, uh, on, uh, the room that you’re in is a 10 by 10 room with, and then there’s a five by 10 stone slab with a strong mat on it and a wooden pillow. And that’s your bed. So it literally is just stripping you of anything that stimulates. And in that situation, I mean, I was like piling my clothes on the wooden pillow.

Kevin Hekmat: (28:16)
There was like an indentation in the pillow. And I was just like, piling my clothes on there to get some sense of comfort, because it was just so intense, but I’ll go back to, this is crazy. So judgment. Thanks. So go back to the story. You would, you would have to get everyone had to get their food and then sit down and then everyone could start reading. And obviously you’re, I’m, I’m starving. I love food. I’m, I’m hungry. Every time we’re eating. And I’m like stuffing myself, which wasn’t the most conscious way to do it. Like, some people were fasting all the time, but so I get my food. I’m sitting there. Everyone is now sitting and there’s always this one guy, every single mealtime who was just walking. So he was always the last one in line. And then he was always like, everyone was sitting and he was like, slowly picking up is this food. And then he would like walk to the other side of the room to go and sit down. And then like, everyone was staring at him. I was staring at him and then he would, you’d see, oh, you forgot a sport. So he would walk all the way, pick up a sport slowly, walk back. And this would happen like twice a day, every day. And I was like, this guy’s a. Like, this guy. Like I, in my head, I like developed this, this like anger for this. Like, he’s he was slower.

Kevin Hekmat: (29:45)
So inconsiderate. Like everyone is waiting for him, every single meal to eat. Oh, cause you had a, we couldn’t eat. He was sitting down.

Joe Chura: (29:56)
He was there, got it.

Kevin Hekmat: (29:58)
Every single meal. We’re waiting an extra five minutes for this guy to like Dennis food, forget his floor, get a sport, sit down. And I like really developed this, like this guy’s an. He’s like arrogant. Like I created this crazy story in my head about what kind of guy, this guy and on the last, like the 10th day, right. The 10th is finished and there’s, uh, it’s like nighttime now. And we can all sit, go out and talk and talk to each other and meet each other. And really we’re talking to other people, Hey, how are you? And I see this guy and I go, I’m going to go prove to myself, this guy’s an. And so I go to him and I sort of walk up and I tap on the shoulder and he turns around. He goes, oh, I was like, I was like, Hey.

Kevin Hekmat: (30:50)
And he’s like, oh, how are you doing? And he tells me his name. And I go, wow. And he’s so nice. He smiled the biggest smile. He didn’t smile once the entire 10 days, biggest smile Italian guys. And I was like, wow. Uh, and I told him, I was like, man, I gotta be honest with you. I thought you were an. Like you were walking so slowly. And I told him the whole thing, my whole story that was created. And he was like, oh, I was so sorry. I was just trying to meditate in every moment. All he was doing was just trying to be really intentional in every moment. And in my head, I created this entire story of him being this arrogant. And that to me was beautiful. I mean, it was like the perfect.

Joe Chura: (31:44)
Yeah. It’s an amazing story. And it’s like true in life. Right? You, you judge without knowing. And one of the things I’ve been cognizant of, and I read this in a old Zen book by like Chuck Norris and like 20 years ago. And it was like, he was talking about someone who cut him off in traffic and, and was, uh, was angry. And then it turns out that the lady, um, it was a husband and the lady had cancer in the car. And they’re like, you just never know when you approach a situation with someone else’s going through and you always think about yourself, someone’s cutting you off. If something’s happening in life and everyone thinks it’s happening to you and it’s intentional, but in many, many times it’s not. And there’s someone else dealing with something much worse. And I think that’s exactly kind of the moral of your story is that like, this guy was just trying to be intentional, get as money worth from the retreat. Not that to me, it was like, enough’s enough. Like just mealtime, like let’s eat. But I mean, in his mind he was, you know, it was, it was 10 days and that I’m sure it was life-changing for him to be intentional in every moment like that.

Kevin Hekmat: (32:53)
Yeah, exactly. You also just reminded me on the money note, a reason that I stayed that when I got there, I was like, oh, I should stay because I was on a budget. I like self created a budget for myself every day. I was like, I want to do this within a certain amount of money. And, uh, the full 10 days there, uh, for all the meals for the accommodations and the, for the meditation retreat was like $50. So like sleeping meals and everything. I was like $5 a day. So in my head I was like, oh, this would be great for my budget.

Joe Chura: (33:31)

Kevin Hekmat: (33:31)
Many people were there? A hundred, a hundred, maybe 120. And then a handful of people like less, uh, they just started like talking and yeah, people started to talk. They would sort of like get them out of that. Yeah. But that was my introduction. It goes back to go ahead. We’re going to something.

Joe Chura: (33:51)
Yeah. Yeah. What was the, what was the, like the attrition rate of all the participants? Was it like half a, them long?

Kevin Hekmat: (33:59)
Maybe there was 120 that started and maybe a hundred or 105 finished. It was about 10, 15 people 20. Yeah. And so going all the way back, that was my initial introduction. And, and then it became a part of my life meditation. That was a very intense way to start. Uh, but I, I implemented some of those throughout, you know, earlier, uh, you know, when I got back and at that point I started managing talent and booking, uh, you know, corporate events, speakers at corporate events. And I would use those meditation techniques and over the next eight years started to implement them more and more that I, at one point I did, uh, I would say a much better introduction to meditation, which is, uh, TM, transcendental meditation, which is, uh, it’s very structured. Uh, it’s more, much more accessible, I think in like the dish modern day.

Kevin Hekmat: (34:59)
Uh, it’s like 20 minutes, twice a day. It goes very much into, uh, what’s happening, uh, when you’re meditating. Uh, I mean, I, I really believe this, that in, I think we’re getting there already, but I think in 20 years, uh, they’re pretty much going to be able to say, well, there’s this thing that you could have done 20 minutes a day. That was like a super drug. And, and then at that point, the science is going to catch up to the reality of it. And especially with like the, the more stress that we’re all feeling like, this is that like pill that you can take that, uh, that will do all the things you need for your health. Like what what’s causing a lot of the, like, I’m not a scientist, I’m not a doctor, but like, I think we can all be pretty clear that like stress causes a lot of the health issues that going on in the world right now. Like, I think just from my completely

Joe Chura: (36:09)

Kevin Hekmat: (36:10)
Background, I can, and, uh,

Joe Chura: (36:15)
You’re a hundred percent man. It’s, it’s amazing how the mind manifests a reaction in the body in like such a profound way. I mean, I, I told this story on last week’s episode, but, you know, we were getting ready for the Spartan race and lake Tahoe. And I had so much anticipation. I wasn’t nervous per se, but like it was anticipation. It was adrenaline. And because of all that, I started the race in my heart rate was like literally 50% higher than I expected, like 50%. And so just my mind is manifesting this reaction in my body and it ended up calming down after like the first 18 miles, but it’s a very, very long time to get through it. And I was like, the only way out of this is through it, but it’s, it just goes to show you how you can work yourself up or, you know, you can think of a million things on how a thought would, would create a reaction in your body. So I’m a hundred percent, uh, in agreement there. What, so when you talk about transcendental meditation, I’m sure people hear that and they’re like, Superdrug I want it. How do I do it? How do you recommend someone find out more get started? Are there YouTube videos on it or is there a resource that you trusted?

Kevin Hekmat: (37:32)
Yeah, so there’s a lot of, uh, TM teachers. So one there’s a center I believe just called the transcendental meditation center. If you just search it, you’ll be able to find it. So that’s like a very basic level. There’s a lot of teachers that do different versions of it. Uh, personally, uh, the teacher that I had her name is, uh, Emily Fletcher and called Ziva meditation. She has a book called, um, stress, less something it’s called stress less. And then there’s two other words, but, uh, she’s great. There’s a lot of teachers that do it. I think, um, just looking at a lot of them have videos. I think the biggest thing here, and I always recommend this for any type of teacher. That’s how you connect with the person. So like find someone that you actually connect with, that’s going to be the best way for you to just stick with it. If you actually can listen to them and go, oh, I, I believe this person. Right.

Joe Chura: (38:33)
Got it. So you recommend to that, the website then the, yeah, look just Google TM,

Kevin Hekmat: (38:40)
Transcendental meditation center. Uh, there might be one in your city. There’s often ones like that. Just like hidden, but in all in different cities, uh, they’re all over. And, and then there’s also online. Like there’s a lot of resources online. Like I know with Ziva meditation, Emily has like a whole online platform that teaches this. Uh, and there’s a lot of them. I have another friend, Jesse Israel. I don’t know if his is specifically PM, but, um, he was just on tour with Oprah, uh, last year pre pandemic and was teaching meditation to groups of 10, 20,000 people arenas in arenas. So there’s a lot of different resources and I would just like find the right one for you. Uh, the one that you can connect with the best, but, uh, they’re all out there.

Joe Chura: (39:32)
And that’s, and that’s something, that’s something Kevin that you, you have to do proactively a couple of times a day versus the versus using kind of a tool or do you, can you use transcendental meditation to calm?

Kevin Hekmat: (39:49)
Yeah, so, so yeah, I would separate them a bit and like, so I’ll separate them a bit meditation, I think is incredible. And I do it personally. I have varying degrees of consistency. Sometimes I’m very much on it, sometimes I’m not. And so with that meditation, it’s more of a practice that you’re supposed to be doing every day, twice a day, once a day, whatever it is for you in the morning, in the afternoon. And, uh, and it, for me, it gets me very, very clear. Uh, it gives me energy, uh, for everyone has different effects. The point of that meditation, ultimately for me, I would say is to live a more present and meditative life, right? So the point of meditating isn’t to become like an expert meditator, right. It’s to become, and this is a [inaudible]. So I’m taking my extra meditator. If the point of meditation is to live a more mindful life.

Kevin Hekmat: (40:54)
It’s not to just sit down and meditate for 20 minutes and then get out of your meditation and go to the craziness of the world and not be aware of any of it. And let your phone take you over your email, take you over and feeling it constantly going it’s too. Even if it’s one moment in your day where, because you meditated that morning, you go, how are you? Or what do I need right now? Right? It allows you to become more present. So that’s what meditation. And then with heart math, the tools and techniques that they’ve developed are different from meditation, where they’re supposed be used in the moment. So, whereas meditation, you’re doing a twice a day at the time that you want to do it, and maybe you feel very stressed and you say, I need to meditate. These techniques are a minute, two minutes, five minutes, where you can use them whenever you need them, you know, proactively or in response to a stressor.

Kevin Hekmat: (41:53)
So you’re going and starting your Spartan race, right? You 10 minutes before the Rachael like, oh, uh, heart rates, you know, way higher than it should be. I know why it’s that way. All you need is that awareness of it. And the moment you have the awareness, you can take a minute and do that breathing technique. And, you know, it’ll, it will make a difference. And the more you do it, the better you get at it, the more you do it in moments where you’re not already stressed, the better you get at doing it when you are in that stressor. But a lot of people do it, you know, before meetings, uh, just to start their day, uh, after meetings, it’s like a transitional moment. Uh, a big, a big one for me is, uh, I call them like costume changes. Like we all have different roles in our lives, right? Like for you, Joe, uh you’re uh, you have a partner or a kid, your kid, your kids, right? Yeah.

Joe Chura: (42:59)
It’s an, a wife and a brand new dog that is not eating right now

Kevin Hekmat: (43:06)
A little bit. Right? So you’re, you’re, you’re a husband, you’re a dad, you have a dog, you’re a boss and a leader at your company. These are all different roles that you have in different times. And maybe you’re at now even even more difficult before maybe you were going to the office and coming back and, you know, everyone can, can maybe take a second right now, if you’re listening and, and, uh, and sort of categorize what the roles you have in your life are right. For me, I’m a, a boyfriend. I am, uh, a speaker and a, and a colleague to a lot of people. Uh, and I, I represent, uh, talent. Um, I’m a son, I’m a friend, right? Those are the throughout my week. Those are the roles that I play and going from role to role, we often have no time. And so Joe, you might go from being a little bit doing this podcast and your meetings all day.

Kevin Hekmat: (44:05)
You might have a really long day of work meetings back to back and leading and have to be that Joe, right. But leading his company and then you go upstairs or back home and you have to be a husband and show up for your wife in that way, or a dad and show up for your kids or for your doc. And we often don’t give ourselves a minute to our costume to change the thing that we’re doing, because we are different naturally. You’re naturally going to be a different person. And I think even watching my parents growing up, watching most people, I mean, I would see, and it’s like almost a classic TV example of like the dad’s at work. He comes home and he’s like, ah, I’m tired of work. Ah, duh, watching TV. And I remember just thinking that’s so crazy as a kid, but I didn’t really get it.

Kevin Hekmat: (45:01)
Like there was no, I don’t have any concept of what, what was possible, but in the car, if you go take a minute in the driveway, before you get into the house to do this breathing technique and let the weight, let all of that of the day off your shoulders so that you can show up and be the husband or the wife or the partner or whatever you are, whatever the thing you are, if you can be that, uh, and be a bit more intentional, I guarantee you like that relationship, whatever role that is, you’ll show up in a better way. And you’ll just let go of the weight of your day.

Joe Chura: (45:47)
Yeah. Uh, that I love the costume change because today, specifically I have to play five different roles after this. I have to go present at a luncheon and then I have to stand up in front of a committee for another venture that I’m starting and, uh, in between that play CEO to the company. And, uh, and then be the father, the kids are home, they’re off school. So sometimes I find that you don’t, you don’t get a break. And what drives me is this constant, like having a lot of balls in the air, you know, and that’s just like, that fuels me versus taking a step back and taking a breath and saying, okay, now I got to move onto this next thing. I got to change my costume for it. So I think that is amazing insight because often you run to the next thing and you’re still carrying over you still wearing that costume from the previous thing, especially, especially with my kids and my wife, right. I could be there with them, but I might not really be there with them. I might be thinking about what my day or what I got to do. So just taking a deep breath and being cognizant is a very good tip.

Kevin Hekmat: (47:04)
And this is one of those things where like just the world we live in right now, you can be like at your kid’s soccer game on the sidelines, like fully present as a dad, or if you’re a mom or whatever you are. And all of a sudden you get an email and you’re sitting at your desk, all of a sudden, you’re still physically on the sideline. The grass is there, the kids playing soccer, but you’re at your desk working and you’re in the office within a second. Right. And those transition moments, like, that’s just crazy that that’s one the situation, but it is. And so we have to learn how to adapt to, with, and respond to that in the best way that we can. And so this is, this is a tool and whether you’re using heart math or whether you’re using meditation, like to me, the technique is really not as important.

Kevin Hekmat: (47:58)
I have nothing on it. I love hard math. I think it’s really fascinating the work that they’re doing, but I use other techniques sometimes that I don’t use. Like if it’s one tool out of thousands of tools, uh, you know, if you’re familiar with Wim, Hof, Wim, Hof has breathing techniques that are really powerful and breath them. Cause a hole is a fascinating way to just approach this. So like for the people that are listening, I would say, this is one technique. And if you enjoy it, amazing use it. If there’s another technique you’ve learned in the past, there’s another technique that you want to learn. Go do that because I don’t care what you do. All I care about is that you become aware because awareness is the first step of when you’re in that moment, right? Joe, when you be being aware of that day that you had, and as soon as you show up with your kids and go, you know what, I’m still in my work mood. I’m I’m work show right now. Let me take a second. So I can show up as, as the dad, uh, though the awareness, not only first step there

Joe Chura: (49:08)
Now, you, you have a demanding career. You deal with a lot of, uh, let’s call it famous people slash celebrity he’s, uh, and have to manage their bookings, their schedules, in some cases, how you balance being available for them, knowing that you’re there for them. And then taking that time for yourself to not live in this world of constant notifications. Yeah.

Kevin Hekmat: (49:38)
Uh, that’s a hard, it’s hard one and I think it’s hard for everyone and we all go through it and it’s hard in our own way. It’s L there was a lot of not creating any boundaries and constantly being available and learning that it wasn’t sustainable and learning that I’m able to actually show up in the best way as a manager. Uh, if I am creating a space for myself to do things that I need as well, also realizing that so much less is urgent. If something is really urgent, I’ll get two calls about it, right? If something is urgent, someone will call you twice. And yeah, if not, it can wait for the thing that you’re doing. The biggest thing is creating. I would say creating boundaries. I think, uh, I think everyone, we, we never really learn how to create boundaries. Like none of this has really taught any of this.

Kevin Hekmat: (50:42)
I mean, we never learned how to respond to stress in school. It’s arguably the one universal thing that we’re all going to experience that is a weight on ourselves. And we never learned how to respond to it in any real way. And we never really learned how to create boundaries for ourselves, with anyone in our lives. Uh, and it’s, and it’s really important because it’s filling up your cup so that you can then, uh, fill up others and be there for others, whether you’re filling them up or whether you’re drinking with them, you know? And so,

Joe Chura: (51:19)
But, but break that down a little bit. So what are the boundaries? Cause isn’t it, isn’t it tough though? And I think this can apply to anything you’re meeting a new client, a new prospect, it’s exciting with your reputation. I’m sure you’ve, you’ve, you know, people have asked like, Hey, is Kevin available? That’s really important to me when I need them see available. So like, you really have that conversation up front and say, okay, here’s my, here’s my rules. Here’s what I do. If this works for you, fine. If not, maybe, maybe it’s not a good fit. Like, do you operate in that way? Yeah.

Kevin Hekmat: (51:55)
Uh, for me, I think you, first of all, you only know your boundaries when you get up to them and you pass them, honestly. Right? So the first step to figuring out whatever your boundaries are, then I did this myself is, uh, noticing the things that I, that are really frustrating me about my work, about the way I approach it. And you might be in a stage and I was at a stage where for a while, I didn’t need the boundaries. I was saying, you know what, I’m going to put all of myself into this thing and it’s worth it for me right now. Right? My boundaries, actually other places where this is going to take priority, but at a certain point, you go, well, you know what? This is really it’s bearing down on me, distress the work, the intensity of it all. So the awareness is first that this isn’t what I want.

Kevin Hekmat: (52:48)
This isn’t how I would like. And then you say, okay, well, how can I, it’s still my job. It’s still, I have to show up. Are there certain things that I can carve out areas that I can carve out that, uh, can be timed for me or time for me to show up with my family or with my friends and I would all, but you have to make sure, obviously you’re still showing up in that role. And if you decide, well, I don’t want to show up in that role. That’s a different decision, a different conversation. But if you’re show still showing up in that role in the time fully, when you’re there, when you’re not, when you’re saying, you know what, this is my carved out time. I would say most people would respect that if they know, if you’re able to communicate those boundaries, and maybe it’s a full on community conversation saying, you know what I need this time. Uh, if it’s urgent, call me twice and I will answer if I’m, if I see it, I will answer it. Uh, otherwise we’ll get back to you. Like as soon as like the next morning or right. When

Joe Chura: (53:49)
Well, I’ve, I found that too is like, what’s been your experience with that.

Kevin Hekmat: (53:55)
Yeah. W this is, I’m sure. Very present for you.

Joe Chura: (53:59)
Yeah. So I’ve, I, I have a hard time with this. Like, I still struggle with it because there’s certain clients that I have that I’ve been able to grow these relationships by always being there, always being available and some amazing things happen by answering the phone at inopportune times. I remember one, one quick story is sold the businesses. I take the family to Disney world. We’re meeting a friend there. It’s 3:00 AM. I get a phone call? And my wife’s like, who the hell is calling you at 3m? Typically, this is atypical. I don’t normally get calls at 3:00 AM. This guy says, I’m George from, um, a large manufacturer, a large automobile manufacturer. And I represent Puerto Rico and, um, uh, a certain territory that is fairly large. And I was online. I was watching your videos. I just figured I’d give you guys a call, not thinking someone would answer.

Joe Chura: (55:02)
So I crawl in the bathroom and I have a half hour conversation with this guy, basketball word, maybe a year later from that conversation. I’m speaking in Puerto Rico to, uh, I, I, a huge conglomerate of car dealers, manufacturers and establish a lifelong relationship. And I had no nothing in it for me at that point. Like, I mean, I shouldn’t say that I was still running the business, still wanting it to grow, but it wasn’t like this life or death thing. I just, I was in the highest point of my life and I, and this happened. So it’s like, I do struggle because inherently in me, I would like to please people. I like to be there for them. I like to, I like them to know a few call Joe, he’s going to answer, just call him. He’ll help solve for it. And, and that is caused like a lack of boundaries over time that said over the last few years, I’ve realized that is not sustainable.

Joe Chura: (56:00)
And, and I have created boundaries. And in many cases I don’t get back to someone immediately. What I found is that 90% of the time, the answer or problem is solved. It’s solved. It’s solved either by their own doing or by someone else in my company. And that is to me a much more scalable way to run a business. It’s just my inherent personality is like, let me be there for them. Cause now, like, if I answered the phone for anytime you call me Kevin, you’re going to know like, Hey, if I’m stuck in a predicament, I can call Joe. He’s always there for me. Right. It’s just, it’s, it’s a, it’s a tough thing. It’s easier said than done.

Kevin Hekmat: (56:37)
That’s one thing is one. Yeah. A more sustainable way. You said, you know, if you’re not always, so one, I hear your example and that’s like, it’s a funny, and it’s a real example. And that’s true. And I think to me, like, it really spoke to like the, the value thing. So like where values will always change. So one, it’s amazing that you did that and because the way you show up the way you do it is the reason why you’re in the place you are, that you are right. Like those things, I’m sure those traits that you, the reason, the way you answer the phone at three in the morning that you call them to the bathroom, this is the reason you were, you’ve been able to get to this place. And, um, and you know, not maybe answering it all the time now when your life may be a, uh, uh, you know, 90% of them get dealt with anyway, like you said, and it’s a more sustainable way to run a business. And I would also say like a more sustainable way to live your life. Like, what’s the purpose of everything that you do

Joe Chura: (57:43)
Exactly. Right? Yeah.

Kevin Hekmat: (57:45)
And for everyone that, that answer might be different, but like the, what is the purpose of, of what you do right now for you?

Joe Chura: (57:54)
I mean, for, for me now, I’d love, that’s why I do these podcasts. I love having folks like you on to give other people’s tools that I’ve used, or I’ve found helpful in their everyday life, health, fitness, uh, overcoming adversity, mentally overcoming tough things, and like to lead by example. So to me, the greatest gift is giving and that’s what this podcast is. Right. And that’s what, and that’s what I do. And that’s what refuel is, where the conference that you’ll have some, some folks at this year. And, and I found that selfishly, it makes me feel the best when I give to, to, to others. Um, that said like, there’s certainly opportunity for me to not like, if you’re going to be so, um, one side on the pendulum of life, like if I’m going to be, so one-sided that I’m answering the call at three in the morning, something’s going to suffer on the other side.

Joe Chura: (58:51)
And to your point is like, what is the meaning of it? And that’s what I’ve been reflecting a lot. Like, what is, what is the meaning of it? Like if I’m on my death bed, and this is an exercise I’ve done and I’ve thought about a lot and I’m laying there, it’s a little bit morbid, but I’m just sitting there. I’m not going to remember me answering the call for someone, for them to think I’m a really good entrepreneur and CEO and running a business. I’m going to remember the time I didn’t spend that I could have with my children and with my wife and more shared experiences with friends and family. And that is I cherish those things and I’ve, I’ve grown to really appreciate them. And I encourage and lead others into things like that. Spartan race. Going back to that example, I brought 10 people with me to lake Tahoe and I’m like, let’s do this. None of us had even did a Spartan race. And we, we choose the ultra 31 miler in the hardest course that there is, but we have an amazing shared experience now from it. And we have so many stories from it that, that, that to me is way more valuable than a car or house or tangible thing is that experience. And that’s what I’ve grown to realize. And I want to be able to share that message with folks, and that is become my water.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:00:02)
Yeah, exactly. That’s it? That is it. Right. And I, and I think such an important part of this is, and this is what to me, uh, you know, meditation ultimately gets that hard math ultimately gets that, uh, all types of mindfulness and, and everything in that world is that you are your own guru. Like, you know, what’s best for you. And you’re actually the only one that’s gonna know what’s best for you. And all it takes is that minute, slow down to breathe, to do something that connects you with your, your heart yourself, that, that inner voice and check in with yourself. Cause I I’ve done this and I’m sure everyone that’s listening has done this is that you could go days, weeks, months without ever really checking in with yourself and asking yourself why you’re doing something. And if it’s what you want to be doing, and there’s no judgment, like the answer might be, you know what?

Kevin Hekmat: (01:01:11)
I am fully putting my energy into my work. 24 7. I’m responding to every single call I get because that my sole goal right now is to build that my career and my life. And that’s completely fine, as long as you’re aware of it. And you know why you’re making that decision. But if you, you know, if you’re, if, if I were to ask you and someone were to say, well, I like your answer, Joe was beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful. I love that. Uh, I mean, mortalities is the one thing that I think is a hard line to why are you doing what you’re doing? And the conscious awareness of what you really want to be doing, right? That the awareness of your mortality. And so that was beautifully said. And I would say, just be aware of it. And if it’s this technique or whatever, whatever is hard, math is not going to give you answers.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:02:07)
This podcast is not going to give you the answers. Tony Robbins is not going to give you the answers. Deepak shopper is not going to give you the answers, Gary, Vaynerchuks. I could give you the interest. No one is going to give you the answers. You need to accept yourself. And you just have to like listen to yourself and take that time to like check in. And like therapy is very helpful. Your friends are very helpful. You know, a coach, a business coach is helpful for finding podcasts are helpful for finding all those things, but ultimately it’s like, it’s not prescriptive. You, you need to just take the time to, uh, listen to yourself to be quiet, uh, and, and, and learn and understand what you really want for yourself and what you need.

Joe Chura: (01:02:57)
And, uh, and take action, like right ahead. Rich roll on the podcast recently. And his, uh, big thing is mood follows action. And I think that is so true. Like you can, you’re not going to, you can list that every episode anonymous there, you’re not going to be a better human. Like you have to, like, I wish I wish I could give someone that, but like, or you’re not going to be able to just relieve the stress automatic. I mean, maybe you will, but I think you just need to take action towards things. You do need to sit down and we’ll conclude in a minute with another exercise, but you do need to sit down and take a breath in. And if you want change, you have to take that step forward. I think that is that’s sort of on yeah.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:03:40)
And everything. I, I love that everything that you, uh, everything you, that comes to you that, that, that, that you’re given in your life, the good and the bad, those things are your teachers, right? So like you make this decision, you know, that, uh, the, the, the traffic on your way to work, uh, that’s your teacher, your delayed flight, that’s your teacher, right? The tech issues before your call, the heart rate up before your Spartan race, like all of those roadblocks that we see those are, that’s your teacher going? Like, this is where you learn.

Joe Chura: (01:04:20)
Yeah. And, and, you know, what’s crazy about that. Kevin is like, I knew what was happening and I knew the techniques and I’ve tried to slow it down. And I couldn’t, I could not affectively change my body at that moment. And the only way out was through, was through doing it the only, and then, and then the first 18 miles were like that. Then the remainder, my heart rate was actually lower. And when do you exercise your heart rate actually goes lower from doing the same thing. I mean, it was like, it went from like one 50 to one 60 to like one 30. And I was like, this is, this is crazy. Just because I was like, in my mind, I was like, I’m gonna make it through this. Like, I’m doing this, nothing’s stopping me. If I’m moving forward, nothing’s going to stop me.

Joe Chura: (01:05:09)
And once I came to terms with that, I, it totally relaxed myself. And I think part of that was on a, I mean, quite honestly, like I have a podcast called almost there. I, to me, I owe it to the audience to not just say things, but do them like, like, and, and I liked that. I liked that accountability. So if I was just talking about this stuff all day long and not doing it, like, you know, who am I to learn anything from, but the fact that like, we all went out there, we, we, we did it. I had to come back and I kept thinking about the audience. I kept thinking about myself. And I kept thinking about my family and the effort that it took to get there. And even though I got hurt at mile 11, I was like, as long as I’m moving forward and finishing this thing. And again, they change completely at mile 18 and I’m like, I’m finishing this thing, you know? And, and sometimes the only way out is through, and you can learn all the techniques and you have this toolbox, but it may not always work and part just keep moving in the right direction. And all of a sudden it will. Yeah.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:06:16)
Yeah. I love that. That’s great. And one thing that I will definitely, uh, there’s something that I just want to come back to that that’s sitting in my head. So, uh, it actually came from a conversation with Colleen on your team. And, uh, it was before the session with your team. And I was talking to Colleen and we were talking about all of this part map and, and what the talk was going to be and all that. And, uh, we were talking about like those, either those costume change moments or the moments where you’re, you’re S you’re stressed, whether you’re at work or you’re in the middle of something. And, uh, and you know, that you need a second, right? Like, for example, and I’ll give this quick example of the, probably the most accessible thing is when you’re stressed, uh, and are frustrated in the conversation topics for me often is you’re frustrated in the conversation.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:07:17)
You’re not communicating well. And you either, either like, uh, I don’t have the words to say what I want to say, or I say something I didn’t even mean to say, I don’t know if you can relate to that. Like, you’re angry, you’re offended. Like you either can’t find the words or you say something like, that’s not what I meant. That is a biological thing happening, right? Like your, your body’s going into fight or flight because of the stress of that conversation. And then when that happens, uh, those, those brain centers start to shut down that help with communication, that help with all of that stuff, right. With focus. And so when I realized, oh, it’s biological, and all I need to do in that moment, in that conversation is while I’m in the conversation, start to breathe. I start to use this. I’ve started to use this all the time. And it’s been incredibly helpful because in that moment, and that’s really the key here before we do this exercise. In that moment, you can start to self-regulate, uh, while you’re mid-conversation

Joe Chura: (01:08:13)
And wait to what happened with

Kevin Hekmat: (01:08:16)
All I got to announce. So we were talking about when you’re, um, when you’re in the office, right. And I was saying, you know, it’s like my, my dream is for companies to implement, uh, like before meetings. Like every company should have like a minute before every meeting where you don’t want to call it meditation, that’s fine. But just breathing where everyone’s sort of lets off the intensity of the day, uh, of every now everything will happen before then, then they come in fully present. Or if you have an intense several hours of back to back, and now you need to sit down and get work done for it to be normal, to say, I’m going to take five minutes. And we were saying how funny it was that, you know, back in the fifties, sixties, seventies, smoke breaks were very, very normal and acceptable. And if you take out the smoke is horrible, smoking is bad for you, right? You’re you’re in a hailing just like this horrible toxins into your lungs, separate that for a second. What was the smoke break? Something that people did where when they were stressed out, where they stepped away from their work for five, 10 minutes and they just breathe.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:09:33)
And for all of the negative aspects of smoking, I’m sure that the stress side of it was actually helpful. And it’s crazy to me that that was more acceptable back then than saying, I need five minutes to go and breathe in, in an office now. And I think that the goal would be for, would be for this to become as socially acceptable as a smoke break was in the fifties. I think that to me really

Joe Chura: (01:10:04)
Brilliant, clearly agree. Yeah. I’ve, I’ve started meetings with that, with that two and half the room looks at you, like you’re nuts, right? 25% of the room appreciates it. And, and the other 25% it’s like, huh, that kind of worked. So it’s, it’s really interesting. And I, I firmly believe that, like, you have to take a deep breath and uh, just even one, one deep breath or two, like just to get you more grounded in what you’re doing, makes all the difference. And, and again, uh, Kevin easier said than done. In some cases, you know, some cases you get so worked up. I know, I know I do once in a while and, and I often regret a reaction and it used to be worse. And over time, as I’ve meditated more and thought about things, I’ve, I’ve got better at that. But if something triggers me or charges me, I try to take a deep breath, but sometimes your emotions get, get the best of you. And I think what I’ve found is we’re not perfect. We’ll never be perfect. You got to recognize that what you tried to do, try to get next time and maybe modify it. Yeah. And then that’s when you learn other emotional intelligence techniques, like walk away or, you know, don’t say that thing, sleep on it. Um, and there’s a million other, other things she could do as well.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:11:25)
Yeah. It’d be easy on yourself. Like, we’re all learning. We didn’t learn this. If we learn this as kids, it’d be much easier if this was like the culture at that point, but we didn’t. And it’s okay. So when you have those reactions, be easy on yourself, forgive yourself, move on. You’ll get a better next time, you know?

Joe Chura: (01:11:43)
Yeah, man, I could talk to you all day and leave. It’s already on, I know her in 10 minutes, but let’s, uh, let’s wrap with, um, with another technique that,

Kevin Hekmat: (01:11:56)
So, uh, the technique is called a quick coherence and it’ll start with that same heart focused breathing exercise that we started the session with. And then we’ll close. The second part of it will be, um, I’m going to ask you to, to experience a renewing emotion. So all you need to do is like really put yourself into a moment. And, and I like to come up with like an emotion bank of like positive emotions, like, and the best ways to, to, to, um, to plug into those I found or memories people, places, and pets. Right? So take a second, Joe, everyone, most everyone listening, take a second and choose, uh, one of those things that make you feel emotions, you can choose one emotion, like love, joy, excitement, peace, contentment, gratitude, compassion, uh, appreciation. You can make one emotion, one memory or person or place or pet that makes you feel something, you know, for me, for example, um, I love this hike. There’s a high called Temescal canyon, uh, right in LA and like standing at the top of Temescal at sunrise for me is like the most peaceful place. So I put myself right there and I can smell the smells. I can feel the feelings, I can see it. And if I start remembering that I go to, I go back to that peaceful place. So take 10 seconds, come up, pick your place. Do you have it great. Yeah. What is it if you want to share it?

Joe Chura: (01:13:43)
Yeah, sure. So I was just thinking of my wife and I hiked half dome and it was, uh, a very, uh, arduous, uh, hike. And it was the toughest thing. She said she’s done in her life physically. And when we made it to the top, when we, we, we got there. I was just thinking about that moment and looking around at Yosemite valley and all the beauty and what it took to get there and the risks and the adventure that we had together in the shared experience. It was, uh, it was incredible.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:14:15)
What does it make you feel when you’re, when you remember that?

Joe Chura: (01:14:18)
Oh, it makes me feel grateful that I have a partner that is down to do something that crazy with me and she didn’t want, really want to do it. And we, we entered the lottery and we got it and she’s like, guess what? We won the lottery. And I’m like, yes. And she’s like, I guess we’re going. And you know, she took that chance. Cause you know, you have to climb cables and a bunch of other crazy stuff to, to get up there. So I was very, I’m very

Kevin Hekmat: (01:14:45)
Right. So there it is. So I’ll start us off and I’ll guide us through the exercise. Uh, and everyone listening, just use whatever emotion and memory or place that you, you thought of. So start to focus your attention on the area, around your heart. Okay. Just imagine your breath flowing deeply into your heart, into your chest and out of your heart for your chest. You can slow down your breathing. Five counts in five counts out. Let’s take four breaths together, inhale 1, 2, 3, or five. And then the exhale, 2, 3, 4, inhale, breathe deeply into your heart. Feel your chest, filling up exhale, take these next two breasts on your own, filling up your heart or your chest area with each inhale.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:16:47)
Let’s take one more breath together. As you inhale, let this be the deepest breath you’ve taken all day. A lot of your heart and exhale. Now I want you to experience that renewing emotion, feel that feeling of that gratitude, appreciation that joy love, peace contentment. Start to put yourself in that place that you thought of or be with the person you thought of be in that memory that you thought of for the next minute. You’re just going to be there. You’re going to feel that feeling as if it’s happening right now. You all have the feeling that it brings, putting yourself there. What does it look like? Smell, like, feel like who’s there with you now with your own time, you can slowly open your eyes, bring those moments into this moment. There it is. How has that jail

Joe Chura: (01:19:42)
Incredible, man. It incredible fired up to the day recharge. Ready to costume change.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:19:51)
This is your first one, your first costume change of the day right now when you go to a

Joe Chura: (01:20:00)

Kevin Hekmat: (01:20:00)
Like that.

Joe Chura: (01:20:03)
Yeah. Um, and probably little, a little stuff in between. Hey Kevin, how can people find out more about you?

Kevin Hekmat: (01:20:14)
So, uh, on everything, it’s just my first and last name. So Kevin, heck Matt. So website is Kevin. Heck That’s H E K M a T. So Kevin, heck Instagram at Kevin. Heck Matt Facebook. Kevin, heck Matt. Just on, on everything first and last. And uh, yeah, I mean, for me that the real magic yours is just bringing this to more and more people, uh, to teams. Uh, cause I feel like, uh, it’s not only given that we didn’t learn this in school. Uh it’s, it’s not only, I think the responsibility of, of companies to, to bring this, um, and to teach teams to do it. But it’s also to, to their benefit, uh, for your, your you’re going to have a happier, healthier, uh, team. Uh, if your team is like aware of this, a team that wants to be there longer, uh, that wants to stay on that, that enjoys the work that they’re doing and is more aware of that. So that’s really more than anything. Uh, you know why I’m here in this moment? Yeah.

Joe Chura: (01:21:26)
Well, you have an amazing gift to teach and, uh, your, your demeanor is certainly a strong and apparent that you practice what you preach and I can’t thank you enough for this conversation and the, and the time that you spent with us in the audience. I’m, without a doubt, people are going to get a ton out of this episode. So expect folks to reach out to you and thanks again, man, for being here and being in front of.

Kevin Hekmat: (01:21:54)
I appreciate it. Thanks for having me. It’s been a lot of fun, uh, uh, working with you guys and, and excited for more.

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